“Most elderly people see numerous doctors, have a calendar full of medical appointments, and have such a large stack of prescriptions and instructions that even a mindful caregiver can’t keep track of them.” Virginia Morris
Have you become a medical advocate for your parent yet?
A medical advocate is someone who helps them navigate the medical system.
Just a few of the tasks an advocate can help with-
☑️ Attending appointments
☑️ Taking good notes
☑️ Asking questions
☑️ Doing research on medications or symptoms
☑️ Helping with insurance and medical bills
Being sick can be overwhelming for anyone but most aging parents are dealing with chronic medical issues so dealing with all that is involved with staying as healthy as possible can feel impossible.
I remember when I found myself stepping into the Medical Advocate role for my dad. Robin, my sister had been handling many of the above tasks for a while now but soon I would need to play a bigger role than I had.
A large red spot on Dad’s collar bone appeared, it seemed like overnight.
My Aunt helped him put on a medication patch daily. She was sure it had not been there just a week ago. An appointment with his dermatologist brought a biopsy, words of comfort and a guess that it wasn’t going to be anything to worry about.
I got the phone call from my sister just a day later, it was melanoma.
This diagnosis changed everything. 7 year into his Alzheimer’s journey Dad was diagnosed with melanoma, his ability to be in control of his medical care no longer an option.
My sister or my Aunt had been attending doctor’s appointments and helping with medication management for a while now.
BUT, this diagnosis meant surgery and a possibility of additional treatment.
It was time for all hands on deck.
Dad’s cancer was successfully treated but his Alzheimer’s took a significant decline during that time.
Just 6 months later, my Aunt moved into her own home and I began traveling the 220 miles to his home to stay will him 3 days a week. Working together, Robin and I were strong advocates for Dad’s medical care over the next 5 years. It took much more work to coordinate doctor’s care and manage medications than I ever expected.